US ED: Most state math and reading standards weak

In August, the U.S. Department of Education released a report that compared state standards and tests to the federal National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), which many consider to be the “gold standard” of standardized testing.  According to researchers,

1. There is wide variation among state proficiency standards.

2. Most states’ proficiency standards are at or below NAEP’s definition of Basic performance.

3. For those states that made substantive changes in their assessments between 2007 and 2009 most moved toward more rigorous standards as measured by NAEP.

4. For those states that made substantive changes in their assessments between 2005 and 2009, changes in the rigor of states’ standards as measured by NAEP were mixed but showed more decreases than increases in the rigor of their standards.

5. Changes in the proportion of students meeting states’ standards for proficiency between 2007 and 2009 are not corroborated by the proportion of students meeting proficiency, as measured by NAEP, in at least half of the states in the comparison sample.

6. Results of comparisons between changes in the proportion of students meeting states’ standards for proficiency between 2005 and 2009 and the proportion of students meeting proficiency, as measured by NAEP, were mixed.

North Carolina’s state reading tests are not comparable to the rigorous NAEP reading tests.  On the other hand, our 2007 math test is comparable to the 2009 NAEP math test.  The bottom line is that our state has good math tests and poor reading tests.

Terry Stoops / Vice President for Research and Director of Education Studies

Terry Stoops is the Vice President for Research and Director of Education Studies at the John Locke Foundation. Before joining the Locke Foundation, he worked as the progra...

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